Kitāb al-Ghayba > Application of Divine Penalties during the Occultation of Imam Mahdi (a.s)
Hadith #1

فإن قيل: فالحدود في حال الغيبة ما حكمها؟ فإن سقطت عن الجاني على ما يوجبها الشرع فهذا نسخ الشريعة وإن كانت باقية فمن يقيمها؟

If it is said: What is the case with the penal codes during occultation? If they are not enforced against criminals, as the Shariah has demanded, then it is an abrogation of the Shariah; and if they are still in effect, who is going to implement them?

Hadith #2

قلنا: الحدود المستحقة باقية في جنوب مستحقيها، فإن ظهر الإمام ومستحقوها باقون أقامها عليهم بالبينة أو الإقرار،وإن كان فات ذلك بموته كان الإثم في تفويتها على من أخاف الإمام وألجأه إلى الغيبة. وليس هذا نسخا لإقامة الحدود لأن الحد إنما يجب إقامته مع التمكن وزوال المنع ويسقط مع الحيلولة، وإنما يكون ذلك نسخا لو سقط إقامتها مع الإمكان وزوال الموانع.

We will say: Rightful punishments remain in the account of people who deserve them. If the deservers are still alive when the Imam appears, he will enforce these punishments against them on the basis of testimonials or their own confessions; and if this is not done, because the deservers have died, then the sin of suspension of punishments rests on the people who threatened the Imam and forced him into occultation. This does not constitute abrogation of penal codes, however; because, a penal code has to be upheld only when there is the power and capacity for upholding it and when there is no encumbrance on the way. Its enforcement is not binding if there is encumbrance. Abrogation is involved when a code is not enforced even when there is power and capacity to enforce it and there is no encumbrance.

Hadith #3

ويقال لهم: ما يقولون في الحال التي لا يتمكن أهل الحل والعقد من اختيار الإمام، ما حكم الحدود؟ فإن قلتم: سقطت، فهذا نسخ على ما ألزمتمونا.وإن قلتم: هي باقية في جنوب مستحقيها، فهو جوابنا بعينه.

Such people are asked, “What do you say about the state in which ‘those having a say” (ahl hal wa aqd) are not able to select an Imam? What is the case of the penalties?” If you say they are not binding, this is abrogation on the same merits you accused us of; and if you say penalties remain enforceable with respect to their deservers; this is our very answer as well.

Hadith #4

فإن قيل: قد قال أبو علي إن في الحال التي لا يتمكن أهل الحل والعقد من نصب الإمام يفعل الله ما يقوم مقام إقامة الحدود ويزاح علة المكلف. وقال أبو هاشم: إن إقامة الحدود دنياوية لا تعلق لها بالدين.

If it is said: Abu Ali has argued that in the conditions in which “those having a say” are not able to select an Imam, Allah performs acts that stand in place of enforcing the penalties and take away the excuse of duty-bound; and Abu Hashim has said that enforcing penalties is a worldly matter and has no relationship with religion.

Hadith #5

قلنـا: أمـا مـا قـاله أبو علي فلو قلنـا مثله ما ضرنا لأن إقامة الحدود ليس هو الذي لأجله أوجبنا الإمام حتى إذا فات إقامته انتقض دلالة الإمامة،بل ذلك تابع للشرع. وقد قلنا إنه لا يمتنع أن يسقط فرض إقامتها في حال انقباض يد الإمام أو تكون باقية في جنوب أصحابها،وكما جاز ذلك جاز أيضا أن يكون هناك ما يقوم مقامها فإذا صرنا إلى ما قاله لم ينتقض علينا أصل.

We say: If we say the same thing that Abu Ali has said, it will not be disadvantageous to our position, because enforcement of penal codes is not the reason for which we consider the existence of the Imam necessary, so when they are not enforced, it could lead to the untenability of the proofs of Imamate. Enforcing penal codes is a religio-legal matter, and we said that it is possible that the obligation of its enforcement lose its imperativeness when the Imam lacks power, or that it may remain pending in the accounts of the criminals. It is also possible that Allah performs acts that replace enforcement of penal codes. If we were to accept Abu Ali’s assertion, it would not harm our stance at all.

Hadith #6

وأما ما قاله أبو هاشم من أن ذلك لمصالح الدنيا، فبعيد لأن ذلك عبادة واجبة ولو كان لمصلحة دنياوية لما وجبت. على أن إقامة الحدود عنده على وجه الجزاء، والنكال جزء من العقاب، وإنما قدم في دار الدنيا بعضه لما فيه من المصلحة، فكيف يقول مع ذلك أنه لمصالح دنياوية؟ فبطل ما قالوه.

As for Abu Hashim’s view that penal codes are for worldly benefits, it is unacceptable; because penal codes are obligatory acts of worship, and if they were for sheer worldly benefits, they would not be obligatory. Besides, he believes that enforcing the penalties falls in the category of requitals, and legal penalties are part of Divine punishment, some of which have been brought in this life for certain expediencies. How can he still say that they are for worldly expediencies? Therefore, this argument is invalid.